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Old 09-08-2003, 11:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Do we really need freeform gameplay?

A lot is said these days about games giving you the ability to go anywhere... do anything.. achieve it your way. Ever since Elite, games have gone further and further along this path.

But will we ever achieve true freeform gameplay, and even if we do, will we just have created a game that mirrors our own lives, fears and limits rather than allowing us to break free of them as a tight narrative would?

Does AI need to come a long way before we have a truly freeform gameworld? What about MMORPGs? How close do they come to providing the freeform experience?

Ultimately, is it something we really need?

Last edited by flamingdog; 09-08-2003 at 11:27 AM..
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Old 09-08-2003, 11:31 AM   #2 (permalink)
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yes and no
while nonlinear gameplays gives the user the opportunity to explore other aspects fo the gaming environment that my interest them more, it also provides more of a chance to show off programming defiencies. The tradeoff for nonlinear, freeform, immersive gameplay is program bloat, possible decreased hardware performance, and lack of cohesive storylines. Sometimes that is too much to sacrifice to be labeled as "revolutionary"
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Old 09-08-2003, 11:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Freeform is a difficult style to create. On one hand, if excuted correctly it gives an unprecedented level of freedom and interactivity. I'd have to agree with Ganguro on the problems though, I feel the biggest issues with non-linear games, is the difficulty in creating a cohesive and compelling story. Some, such as GTA Vice City, and many computer RPGs like Fallout do a great job of it. Others are simply confusion or nonexistent.
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Old 09-08-2003, 01:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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AI would need to be more developed by far, but the most exciting gameplay experiences I have are against other people. Multiplayer games will always have the interaction and a sort of intelligence, AI wont have. This does not refer to reflex time, calculations and such, but real strategy. INMO strategy is an art, and in many experiences there is no, one best strategy.
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Old 09-08-2003, 01:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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the closest you can get to FreeForm games are Pen & Paper RPGs. Simply because What If I want to take a pot with water and flowers, and set it on my head, while holding it with one hand, and then run into a wall? That would be hard to do, and they would have to program for that. I could never play those old Text Based Games, because my example are things I'd think of. But in a P&P RPG, you can EASILY do what I have stated, and your imagination is the graphics.
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Old 09-08-2003, 02:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by GakFace
the closest you can get to FreeForm games are Pen & Paper RPGs. Simply because What If I want to take a pot with water and flowers, and set it on my head, while holding it with one hand, and then run into a wall? That would be hard to do, and they would have to program for that. I could never play those old Text Based Games, because my example are things I'd think of. But in a P&P RPG, you can EASILY do what I have stated, and your imagination is the graphics.

so do you believe that to get to true freeform gaming you must have a game be readily changable so you can do whatever you want to do? by having something similar to a dungeon master programmer that can change the code to make you able to do anything?
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Old 09-08-2003, 08:53 PM   #7 (permalink)
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The problem with true free-form gaming is that you will end up lacking direction. Take Morrowind, for example. You could do what you wanted, go anywhere, and explore everything. But, you end up lacking any direction in the game and just end up wandering. I wandered for days in that game just exploring. I ended up not even finishing because the game just lacked enough story and urgency to keep me interested.
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Old 09-09-2003, 09:07 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I vote for limited freeform.

I like being pushed in the right direction, but I like to figure out my own way of getting there.

Splinter Cel is a pretty good example, in my opinion. It directed me in the right direction, but left me a little lee way in getting things done.

Why would we want true freeform gameplay. I can get lost in the forest in real life.
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Old 09-09-2003, 10:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Read Otherland by Tad Williams

The book is based in the future where the net is basically free, virtual reality is there and then, two of the characters play a RPG in it. To plug into your computer you either plug something into the back of the head, or view through a huge screen on your wall.

To have a free form game we're goin to have to get technically advanced enough to be able to control the characters movements with our own. But the programming and AI would be unbelievable.. but it will come I reckon, unforunately prolly not in my time We shall see what happens tho
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Old 09-10-2003, 03:33 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Freemform to an extent. I think exploration is an important aspect of video games especially rpgs. I like choices. I don't like games where you go from point A to point B. The only games I can think of that accomplished this sucessfully was Ultima 7, Fallout 1/2, etc..
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Old 09-10-2003, 07:02 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Designers who forget that the players don't always see problems the same way give non-freeform games problems.

Totaly free-form games don't exist today. Even pen and paper games, unless you have a very prepared and quick thinking GM, are not totaly free-form. The psuedo free-form games (GTA, Midtown Madness, Online RPGS, etc.) mostly do a good job at covering up the holes between the "scripted" part and the free-from part.

Now games that try to look free form by letting you pick up almost anything, I hate. I was playing Return to Castle Wolfenstien. I am in a room with a secret panel above the fire place. I can pick up the stupid chairs, but can't stack them. And, I can't push a table over by the fireplace to stand on. Just dumb.

The Thief series is a pretty good version of limited free form.

Have you every seen the movie Groundhog Day? That would be a good example of a totaly free form game. Only one solition to solve the puzzle (do right and get the girl), and in a limited environment (the town), but you can do ANYTHING you want. The town is scripted to do things, but the scripts all branch based on your actions, but the people will always be at certian places at certian times. You can gain experience and skills (taking piano lessons, learning french) or just go to a movie (I like it, I have seen it hundreds of times). I think that is doable with todays technology on game platforms. I guess GTA is close to this.
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